Salesforce (CRM) - Get Salesforce Inc. Report is looking towards its annual Dreamforce conference this week and is also hosting an Investor Day on Wednesday. Salesforce has been noted for its long-term views on the future of the modern workplace, and so it's expected to reveal some long-term targets on Wednesday.
Potential investors are being forced to pay up for its high quality but can be expected to be rewarded for doing so. Here's why:
A Well-Oiled Machine
The past five years have seen Salesforce's stock soar close to 173% compared with the S&P 500, which is only up 51% during the same time frame. That's because Salesforce has a rare combination of a strong operations management team that is focused on both its organic growth, as well as being prudent with the acquisitions it takes on.
Accordingly, the graph below demonstrates Salesforce's high and steady growth rates for the past five years.
Although these past several years have seen a proliferation of 'me-too' cloud platform competitors, we can clearly see that Salesforce's vision is being reflected in an incredibly stable revenue growth of approximately 26%.
What's more is that its fiscal 2020 guidance is once again pointing towards 26%-27% revenue growth rates.
For many enterprises embarking on a stream of acquisitions, the tendency is to rapidly trip over themselves while trying to integrate several businesses with different cultures.
But the numbers here speak for themselves -- we can see that Salesforce is not only succeeding where others, such as Cloudera (CLDR) - Get Cloudera, Inc. Report , largely failed, but its acquisitions are lending themselves to a very steady and predictable revenue growth rate. And the thing which investors truly wish for, is predictability, which Salesforce delivers.
Get Connected or Get Left Behind
Businesses seeking to carve out a competitive advantage by delighting their customers are being forced to rapidly embrace their digital transformation.
Salesforce Chairman & co-CEO Marc Benioff talks about the company's Customer 360 platform as the reason why businesses are seeking out Salesforce's Customer relationship management (CRM) over that of competitors, and how its Customer 360 is steadfast on the connection between businesses and their customers over the next decade.
Further, Benioff talks about a digital wave undergoing and businesses needing to get closer than ever before to their customers and how they are adopting Customer 360's leading artificial intelligence as their go-to platform.
Valuation - A Cheaply Priced Stock
As the table above shows, none of the companies in the table are priced in the bargain basement. On the surface, there is a reason for this, and that's because investors had long ago appreciated that cloud-based companies would shape our future.
Moreover, even though Salesforce's P/Sales multiple at 8.8x is higher than that of its peer group's median at 5.1x, I maintain that Salesforce actually is the best bargain stock in the table. And that is because Salesforce is the only company that is delivering strong growth and strong positive cash flows and free cash flows.
Hence, if we compare Salesforce's P/Cash Flows (from operations) of 33.3x compared with its historical average of 30.3x, it demonstrates that notwithstanding appearing to be a fully priced multiple, when we consider that Salesforce is still growing in the mid 20% range, this is not a richly-priced stock.
The Bottom Line
Investors seeking to invest in the highly-coveted cloud space should look no further than Salesforce, as it's backed by a strong management team focused on delivering to investors steady and predictable revenue growth rates in the mid 20 percentages, and for now, its stock is not exuberantly priced.